Scaling up Identification of AYPLWHA: Building Capacity of Adolescents and Young People Volunteers in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Service Delivery.

On 19th October 2017, Education as a Vaccine conducted a training for volunteers in preparation for the take-off of its UNICEF funded project, ‘Scaling up Identification of Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV and Linkage to Treatment, Care and Support through Index Case Finding’.

According to the Project Officer, Landy Godiya, “the training was organized to provide an overview of the project to the Adolescents and Young People (AYP) volunteers that will be involved in the project and intimate them with their roles and responsibilities over the course of the implementation.”

The training which had 12 volunteers in attendance was also an opportunity to review the data collection tools and build their capacity on how to provide sexual and reproductive health and rights information through EVA’s mobile applications and My Question service.

Overtime, reports have revealed progress and gaps across the HIV testing and treatment cascade with Nigeria making little progress in implementation and contribution to the global expectation and aspiration of zero transmission of HIV, zero stigmatization of those living with HIV and zero HIV/AIDS related death. New HIV infections are declining but not at the pace needed to meet the global targets.

Nigeria is a country with an estimated population of over 170 million people with about 31% of the population being Adolescents and Young people (AYP) aged 10-24 years. The national response to HIV in recent years has leveled out the national prevalence, giving many more people access to HIV services.  In spite of the progress made, Nigeria remains one of the most burdened countries globally. Landy disclosed that the project was needed because Nigeria has the 2nd largest HIV burden globally with a total of 3.1 million out of which 4.2% of adolescents and young people are affected. And new infections are highest among AYPs in Nigeria in particular adolescents girls and young women “To achieve 90-90-90 targets, we need to intensify the identification of Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV by piloting promising methods”, she explained.

With the high burden and rise in AIDS mortality amongst adolescents, it is imperative to scale-up access to HIV treatment services.  The volunteers will intensify efforts to raise the “uptake of HIV testing and linkage to care for all family members and the disclosure in the family, and at the same time improve antiretroviral treatment uptake, adherence, and retention”, she added.

“The training went well with my expectations being met.  I am excited with the platform EVA has provided me and I am optimistic that I will leave no stone unturned in my contribution towards Scaling up the Identification of Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV and fast track their Linkages to Treatment, Care and Support”, John Paul, AYP Service Volunteer assured.

The project’s Monitoring & Evaluation Officers, Makinde Afolabi and Joyce Atii took turns to explain the various tools that will be used for the project.

As part of our follow up actions, EVA will assign AYP Service Volunteers to facilities where they will kick start activities and work with peer escorts to ensure positive AYP are linked to support groups. They will also provide all AYPs participating in the project with information on sexual and reproductive health and services.